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Arab Healthy Water Association

For future generations, one drop of water at a time...

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The Arab Healthy Water Association is a non-governmental, non-profit body,
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From: Dillip Kumar Das
To: Dr. Hani Daas
Subject: Antodaya

I am working with ANTODAYA, a grassroot level voluntary organisation working for the poor and marginalised people in Kalahandi district in Orissa India. Kalahandi is famous for its poverty and backwardness. We work for the people who face food stress, for at least 6-7 months a year, and depend upon forest resources to gather their food. For more details about us please visit our website:

I am the chief functionary of ANTODAYA and working with this organisation from inception in 1989. My educational qualification is Graduate in Arts and I have completed the course on Watershed management from the premier management Institute (Xavier institute of Management) in our country, India.

I am sending a small writeup on one innovative water supply system developed by us in one village in our target area.


Water supply through Gravitational Force:
Case Study of Taragaon, Thuamul Rampur

ANTODAYA works in Thuamul Rampur block, which is around 1000m above MSL and full of hills and deep forest. In this Block 58% of the total population are tribals, 67% people are landless and 89% belongs to below poverty line category according to the sources of Government of Orissa. Besides that, 63% of the total population face FOOD STRESS for a period of 6-7 months a year, and 77% of the children (0-5 years age group) are malnourished according to the survey done by ANTODAYA. Most of the villages lack drinking water facilities, so as the other basic amenities due to poor communication (road) facilities and undulating terrain. Lack of drinking water compels people to depend upon streams and live with various water borne diseases.

1. Problem: Among those villages Taragaon and Pitmandi are two most deprived villages of Kaniguma Gram Panchayat, where 107 house holds (72 in Taragaon and 35 in Pitmandi) live. Those 107 households with around 500 population used to drink muddy water from the streams till June 2000, as there was no safe source of drinking water in their villages. All the three bore wells were defunct (either no water or scanty water contaminated with high iron contents). The Rural Water Supply Department of Government of Orissa failed utterly due to the existence of solid rock bed 25 feet beneath the ground level. As per the stipulations laid by the Government the department also could not go for any innovative ideas of water supply system to quench the thirst of the poor people.

By drinking the water from streams people of both the villages were suffering from gastroenteritis, stomach disorders etc and consuming sodium bi-carbonate (locally called SODA) regularly to get relief from stomach pain (spasmodic pain). During August 1996 the problem turned severe when out break of cholera epidemic claimed 9 (nine) lives within two days of time in these two villages.

Then we at ANTODAYA took it as a challenge for us to save the people from the clutches of dreaded diseases. We contacted the Geologists at Orissa Remote Sensing Application Centre through RWSS Department and they conducted a survey of spring water available, but could not come out with a proposal, as there was funds scarcity at government level. Simultaneously ANTODAYA supported the villagers to dig shallow water holes near the stream bed for collecting water as a stop gap arrangement. But the water from those water holes is not safe.

Meanwhile during 1998, Kalahandi Water and Development Project of Save the Children Fund, UK with support from DFID of Great Britain started functioning in Kalahandi. We contacted them for drinking water sources in the deprived villages of our target area. In the process also proposed them to have a feasibility study of spring called Sunarpedi at Taragaon village in the year 1999.

One engineer of KWDP Mr. Ramesh Shakthivel (presently working in Water Aid) surveyed the source and designed for pipe water supply by gravitation force. “Sunarpedi” spring is the highest yielding among the springs at the upper side of village Taragaon, at the foothills. At the mouth of the spring we constructed one harvesting tank with filter media around it and making the water safe for drinking. From that point pipeline is being laid to distribution tanks and from those tanks smaller diameter pipes are connected to the stand posts for people’s use. The safe water is available throughout the year, round the clock, where no external powers is used and water flowing by gravitational force. The total cost of the venture is Rs.187141/- (Rupees one lakh eighty seven thousand one hundred forty-one only), which is equivalent to US $4000. It is working well for the 107 households of both the villages since June 2000.

2. Impact of Implemented Action: After the installation of Sunarpedi gravitational water supply system in the year 2000 A.D. people of these two villages solely depend upon the source for their drinking water needs. Since the beginning in June 2000, we have experienced the following impacts.

3. Stakeholder Participation: In the process of installing the Sunarpedi drinking water project, people of Taragaon and Pitmandi are the main stakeholders. ANTODAYA and KWDP of Save the Children Fund UK are the other two stakeholders as implementor and Funder respectively. Save the Children Fund UK with support from DFID of UK has funded Rs. 170141/- for the project, where ANTODAYA contributed Rs.17000/- for the construction of contour bunds and taking up plantation work along the contour for the sustainability of the source. ANTODAYA also deployed its staff members for the overall supervision and group organisation work in these two villages.

On the other hand, inhabitants of both the villages who are the main stakeholders contributed in terms of their labour (upto 15% of the total cost) as well as their land for laying the pipeline. They also contributed labour for constructing the contour bunds and plantation on the hill slopes (upper side of the mouth of SUNARPEDI spring) to protect the water source from sand casting and siltation due to soil erosion from the hill during rainy season.

4. Sustainability: As the mouth of the spring SUNARPEDI is at the foot hills, it is prone to siltation due to soil erosion from the barren hill slopes during monsoon. So ANTODAYA has organised series of awareness programmes on soil & water conservation and people of both the villages have constructed three (3) contour bunds alongwith agave plantation to protect the source from siltation and helps ground water recharge.

The villagers have formed one committee called Jal Byabahara Committee (Water Users Committee) to manage the source and are collecting yearly fees of Rs.5/- per house hold for the maintenance of the structures as well as the pipelines.

5. Commitment: People of Taragaon & Pitmandi own the source. They were using the stream from age old. But problem of health hazards made them thinking about improving the source a safe drinking water source. ANTODAYA has facilitated them in the process. Planning of the project was made jointly by villagers, ANTODAYA and KWDP team using PLA (participatory learning and action) method. People are committed to protect the source.

6. Originality and Innovative Ideas: SCARCITY & NEEDS are the mothers of innovation. When people of both Taragaon and Pitmandi realized that, there is no possibility of ground water in their village they thought upon surface water. But the surface water can not be safe as it is. Again a village can not dream of pipe water without electricity or other powers in their village. But it is made possible by the innovative ideas of ANTODAYA team and KWDP team.

At the origin there is a harvesting tank where the entire water accumulate through filter media making the water safe for drinking. After that it flows to the villages at lower levels through pipe lines and fulfilling people’s drinking water requirements as well as small irrigation needs round the clock, round the year with no further cost.


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